She was made of bits and scraps of paper, colored, white and the occasional black. There was no rhyme or reason as to the shape of the bits, but like snowflakes, each seemed to be wrapped in an intriguing and often beguiling pattern that represented beauty and experience. She didn’t make the pieces, they were shaped by others, not God’s or masters, but artists, each responsible for shaping one or more scraps and then placing them, sometimes harshly and at times with the gentleness and finesse of a mother’s hand, into the collage that was her very being. The scraps were never glued or pinned at the edges, they were free floating and loose, subject to change with the slightest breeze, but at times, not even a hurricane could dislodge them. This was when she was at her best and happiest. Entropy would cause decay with some of the paper and it seemed the more brightly colored pieces would break down more rapidly while the black scraps would last for what seemed forever, no amount of conviction could force them to fade.
As this month’s principal artist to the woman, I worked tirelessly in an effort to secure a permanent position in her being. My strategy was to fabricate our coalescing souls from the finest rag vellum in shades that bled emotion. Violent reds, the deepest purples, oranges that flared and burned at the edges of her black pieces, greens that settled her immutable personality and fed with nurture and acceptance. To avoid the black, I had to listen with a canine’s ear and sniff the air to catch the scent of irrationality and misunderstanding and cloak it in truth and loves rouge. I cut with shears that were sharp and precise and I worked through the night with a passion fed by the desire to make us whole, to finish the masterpiece that would leave her breathless. After a fortnight’s work and before a deep but fitful sleep I stepped back and looked at my creation and smiled. That night, I dreamed of a picnic with crisp soda crackers, the tang of Manchego and the blanket of a full bodied red wine coating my tongue and softening my mind. She grabbed my hand and looked into my eyes unable to speak, the deep green pieces that I had worked so hard to get just so, deepening into brown and then black. The ivory porcelain I had given to her as skin grayed and cracked audibly and when she opened her mouth, instead of the cacophony of blues in a sweet spring sky, an ochre dust puffed, whirled and eddied until it enveloped her entire head.
I awoke abruptly with pain in my heart. I rushed to my table to look once more at my creation to find nothing more than a small pile of dust and a note scribbled in charcoal.
I threw my shears and paper into the fire and fed for the rest of my days on regret and cold porridge and whispered often to the birds outside my window;